Morning mail: Biloela girl evacuated, aged care vaccinations, Australia’s new dinosaur |

Good morning. It’s Tuesday 8 June and this is Imogen Dewey with today’s main stories: one in four voters think the Morrison government is doing a “poor” job of managing Covid-19, the Ben Roberts-Smith trial continues, and a massive new dinosaur has been found in Australia.

The youngest daughter of the Tamil family from Biloela who have been detained for more than 18 months on Christmas Island has been taken to Perth for emergency medical care, advocates said last night. Tharnicaa Murugappan has been evacuated along with her mother, Priya, for treatment for a suspected blood infection, but her father, Nades, and sister, Kopika, were not allowed to travel. The Department of Home Affairs said it was “committed to the welfare of detainees”. The government has been ordered to pay an Iraqi asylum seeker $350,000 in damages for unlawfully detaining him for more than two years, after a legal battle that could set a precedent for similar cases.

Melbourne will not “snap back” to large crowds and big gatherings at sporting stadiums even if the 14-day lockdown comes to an end this week, Victorian health officials have warned. Before today’s case numbers, the chief health officer, Prof Brett Sutton, said a decision would be made on a “day-to-day” basis whether the lockdown would end at midnight on Thursday. Guardian Australia can reveal up to 30% of residents in some aged care homes have not taken up a vaccination. Meanwhile, support for the Coalition’s handling of the pandemic has fallen to its lowest level since the outbreak began. Almost half of all voters view the federal government less favourably than they did a year ago.

And a new species of dinosaur up to 30m long has been confirmed as the largest found in Australia and among the biggest in the world. The massive Titanosaur, which lived more than 90m years ago, was discovered in south-west Queensland. The plant-eating Australotitan cooperensis was between 25m and 30m long, and stood between 5m and 6.5m from the ground to its hip. Nicknamed Cooper, the Australian dinosaur was first uncovered near Cooper Creek in the Eromanga basin in 2007, but has only now been described scientifically by Queensland Museum and Eromanga Natural History Museum paleontologists.


a parrot
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority says it is still assessing the NSW government’s application to use bromadiolone around crops. Photograph: Laura Rayner

The NSW government should be blocked from using a more potent poison to deal with the state’s mouse plague after reports emerged of a mass bird death, BirdLife Australia and scientists say, warning that it could devastate threatened parrots.

The Australian Research Council, a government agency, has been accused of running a secret “blacklist” on researchers – and admits to scanning applicants for “sensitivities” and links to China.

More than 90% of LGBTQ+ students hear homophobic language at school, with more than one in three confronted with slurs on a daily basis, a study of Australian high school students has found.

A global agreement could force tech giants and other multinationals to pay Australia up to $5.7bn in tax. The G7 deal was struck as developed countries seek a collective solution to profit-shifting by the world’s biggest companies, including Google and Facebook.

Victorian government MPs have accused the state opposition of “vile and disgusting gutter politics” and “spreading conspiracies” after it issued a press release with a list of questions about how the premier, Daniel Andrews, broke his back.

The world

A worker in a lab
While doctors, patients and the organisations that support them are desperate for treatments that can slow mental deterioration, the usefulness of the new drug, aducanumab, is disputed by scientists. Photograph: David A White/AP

A controversial new drug for Alzheimer’s disease, the first in nearly 20 years, was approved in the US on Monday, which will trigger pressure to make it available worldwide despite mixed evidence of its efficacy.

Israeli police have blocked a planned march by Jewish nationalists through Palestinian neighbourhoods of Jerusalem after a similar parade last month played a key role in building the tensions that led to the latest Gaza conflict.

Jeff Bezos and his brother are going into space on 20 July on the first crewed flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. The Amazon founder founded the spaceflight company in 2000 – here’s who else is up in the tech billionaire space race.

The death of the leader of the Nigerian militant Islamist group Boko Haram has been confirmed by a rival extremist faction that said it had carried out the killing on the direct orders of Islamic State’s leadership, thousands of miles away in the Middle East.

Recommended reads

A vaccination centre
‘Get a vaccine. Get any vaccine. Because that vaccine is less risky than Covid and the myriad of other drugs and choices you make every day.’ Photograph: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

“I am one of the tiny handful of the millions of vaccinated people who have had, or will have, an extreme adverse reaction to AstraZeneca. For me, the reaction wasn’t blood clots. The reaction was full-body small nerve fibre neuropathy. Two weeks after the vaccine, I’m out of hospital and back at work. My wounds will heal but it may take many months.” But as Gemma Carey explains, she doesn’t regret getting her Covid jab.

“It takes a lot of strength to display vulnerability in a hostile world.” After a piece in the National Gallery of Victoria’s blockbuster Triennial stopped stopped Shantel Wetherall in her tracks, she spoke to artists who are taking that risk. “I stood for a long time, reflecting on the importance of Black artists claiming space to showcase tenderness – particularly in this moment of history.”

From soothing paw balms to puppy-safe bath bombs: here are four easy at-home spa treatments to care for your canine. As Fiona Rigg and Jacqui Melville discover, “essential oils can have many healing and nurturing effects, not only on us humans but our dogs too.”


Nearly half of Australia’s cattle is treated with growth hormones to speed up weight gain. Australian regulators say these hormones are safe and legal but in the EU and the UK they’re banned. A new free-trade agreement in the works could change that.

Today on Full Story, science writer Donna Lu speaks to Laura Murphy-Oates about this trade agreement and the impact of hormone-treated beef on humans, animals and the environment.

Full Story

Is hormone-treated beef bad for us?

Full Story is Guardian Australia’s daily news podcast. Subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other podcasting app.


The W-League is languishing inside a “strategic vacuum” and will slip even further down the global pecking order of women’s sport unless its structure is overhauled, an Australian players’ union report has found.

Novak Djokovic has survived a scare to reach the French Open quarter-finals as 17-year-old Coco Gauff’s rise on the red clay continues.

The Waratahs’ woeful results this year are a disaster for Australian rugby, writes Bret Harris, both from a high-performance perspective and a commercial point of view.

Media roundup

According to the Age, Victorians are to be taxed on new federal coronavirus support payments and must have lost all their work to be eligible, meaning those who picked up a second job or took reduced hours during the lockdown will miss out. The Australian says increasing tensions in the Indo-Pacific and the region’s response to the pandemic will lead Scott Morrison’s upcoming talks with Singapore’s leader, Lee Hsien Loong. The NSW government “secretly offered $50 million in taxpayer funds” to Qantas to keep the airline’s global headquarters in Sydney, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Coming up

Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith’s high-profile defamation trial over war crimes allegations enters its second day in Sydney. As Paul Daley writes, reputations on both sides are on the line – as well as a lot of money.

Disability royal commission hearings continue in Adelaide.

Severe weather is expected along the east coast.

And if you’ve read this far …

A single McDonald’s chicken nugget that is shaped like a popular video game character has sold for almost $100,000 on eBay.

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